Williams lauded for ‘brilliant coup’ in capturing influential figure

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Former Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams has lauded owners Dorilton Capital for the “brilliant coup” in signing James Vowles from Mercedes.

Vowles left Mercedes ahead of the 2023 season to become Williams Team Principal, and replace Jost Capito who resigned after a below-par start to the ground-effects era.

The signing was considered a statement of new owner Dorilton Capital, who had assumed control of the team in 2020 after Sir Frank Williams opted to sell, with Simon Roberts also serving a short spell in charge.

Vowles guided Williams to seventh in the 2023 standings, and has tried to change the culture and mindset in the team as he seeks to build the Grove-squad back to midfield respectability after a torrid few seasons for the team.

Claire Williams left her post at the time of the sale to Dorilton, but had kept a low profile before appearing in the latest series of Drive to Survive as a talking head.

Reflecting on Vowles’ appointment, a “territorial” Williams has given her full backing to Vowles, who is just the fourth boss in the history of Williams.

Claire Williams backs Vowles

“I’m really pleased that someone like James is running the team,” Williams told Blackbook Motorsport.

“Not many people have the experience that you need to run a team, let alone bring a team up that was in pretty bad shape – if I can say that because I was running it!

“The new owners, Dorilton, staged a brilliant coup when they managed to bring him across from Mercedes.

“I’m very territorial over Williams and who’s running it and who’s representing it, even though it’s not ours anymore.

“Once your dad has put that amount of work into something, you want to ensure that the person that’s taken over is up to the job, and I think James is.

“It’s a new era and Formula 1 does move incredibly quickly, and Formula 1 forgets incredibly quickly as well. There’s an enormous amount of people that have provided the foundations for Formula 1… but time does move forward.

“It’s important to respect its history, to be mindful of it, and to understand it. But equally, you’ve always got to look to the future.

“If we always think about the past, what’s been done before, then we’re going to lose. And you don’t want to lose in Formula 1.”

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